A friend and I recently caught up over drinks. This friend is someone I’ve wanted to get to know better for a long time. She’s pretty, she’s intelligent, she has amazing taste in music, and she’s just cool. During the course of the evening, we got on the subject of the importance of female friendships. The conversation was extremely timely, as this topic has been at the top of my mind for quite some time now.
There was long period of time in my life during which I scoffed at female friendships. Though I’ve always had female friends throughout the years, “younger me” didn’t value them like I should have. In the past, you would often hear me say that I preferred the company of male friends because there was less drama. I fully admit I’ve been catty, and I regret it.
I don’t think I truly realized how much I needed the support of other women until I went through my divorce. At that point, I didn’t know a lot of other women my age who had been through the same thing. Regardless, my female friends were the people I leaned on during the initial separation, the divorce process, and the emotional aftermath. My sister was the first person I told, followed by Ginger, Kim, and Ellen.
In the last couple of years alone, I’ve realized that when you go through hardships in life, you come out of them with wisdom and a desire to help others. In that vein, I’m trying to be there for female friends who are also going through separations and divorces. While no divorce is exactly the same, the emotional rollercoaster that comes with it is a common thread.
I made a goal at the beginning of the year to spend more time with women. Each month, my core group of gal besties plan at least one get-together to drink wine, eat cheese, and catch up. Even though all of us are old ladies with early bedtimes (and therefore wrap up our hangouts before 8 PM), this portion of time together is a great way to de-stress and cheer on one another.
Outside the Cruise Crew bestie group, I’ve been enjoying hanging out with girl friends through sipping beer during Wednesday after-work happy hours, swinging kettlebells at the gym, and working on projects at the office. I also got to know several of the members of Birmingham’s roller derby team during my brief time skating prior to an injury. I’ve been fortunate to continue to spend time with many members of the team in various environments, including coffee dates, social media, and a very cool book club.
My favorite part of all of this is that associating with strong, supportive women has made me stronger, more confident, and altogether happier. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the company of my boyfriend or guy friends, but I honestly look forward to seeing my girl friends most of all (with the exception of my best friend Brian, who I have known and loved since 8th grade; our friendship is unlike any other). After all, we live in a “Me Too,” “Time’s Up” world that tries its best to tear women down or tell them they’re less. Our emotions are frequently seen as weakness, our opinions are often ignored, and don’t even get me started on the day-to-day forms of harassment that we face. The solidarity and support women receive from other women is absolutely necessary.